Top Universities Accepting CLEP Exams: Ivies, Private, Public, Community Colleges

The College Board itself says that more than 2,900 colleges and universities in the US accept CLEP exams.

But the CLEP credit policy of each one can vary — an institution can decide which CLEP tests to accept, what CLEP score applicants need in order to receive credit and how many credits students can get per CLEP examination.

The vast majority of American schools that accept CLEP exams are community colleges as well as state and flagship universities, including highly ranked ones. A lot of liberal arts colleges also do. A handful of prestigious private schools honor CLEP, too, although in some instances, only certain departments do so.

Given that not all degree-granting schools in the country accept CLEP exams, it’s a must to determine that the institutions you wish to shortlist award CLEP credits before you sit for any CLEP test.

Read Also: Easiest and Hardest CLEP Exams.

In this post, I will talk about schools where you can take your CLEP scores and get credit, too — so read on!

Do Ivy League Schools Accept CLEP Exams?

Most Ivy League schools do not give college credit for CLEP exams. While a couple of Ivy Leagues accept CLEP, only certain schools or departments honor the program by College Board. Some prestigious institutions with Ivy designations, however, accept CLEP exams.

Some high school students who are planning on attending some of the country’s elite colleges and universities carrying with them college-level courses may be wondering if CLEP tests are accepted by those.

Does Harvard accept CLEP?

Does MIT accept CLEP?

Alas, only 2 out of 8 Ivy League schools accept CLEP examinations: Harvard University and Columbia University.

But before you start sending your application to any of these prominent schools bearing CLEP exam scores, be warned that only the following schools in the said institutions accept and give credit to CLEP:

  • Harvard Extension School at Harvard
  • Carey Business School and School of Education at Columbia

Needless to say, you will not earn any credit for the CLEP examinations you have taken if you are going to attend Harvard College or Columbia College, which are the undergraduate schools of Harvard and Columbia, respectively.

But it’s a good thing that some colleges and universities in the land may not be members of the 8 Ivy Leagues alright but have earned Ivy designations because of their prestige and reputation.

Ivy designations, however, are considered informal and unofficial, and the lists of schools that have them have changed and can change.

Gasson Hall, Boston College
Gasson Hall, Boston College

In any case, the following are the schools with Ivy designations that accept CLEP tests:

UnversityIvy Designation
Boston CollegeHidden Ivy/New Ivy
Bucknell UniversityHidden Ivy
Denison UniversityHidden Ivy
Franklin & Marshall CollegeHidden Ivy
Hampton UniversityBlack Ivy
Johns Hopkins University (2 schools)Hidden Ivy
Miami UniversityPublic Ivy
Michigan State UniversityPublic Ivy
Morehouse CollegeBlack Ivy
Northwestern UniversityHidden Ivy
Ohio State UniversityPublic Ivy
Pennsylvania State UniversityPublic Ivy
Southern Methodist UniversityHidden Ivy/Southern Ivy
Spelman CollegeBlack Ivy
Tuskegee UniversityBlack Ivy
Union CollegeHidden Ivy
University of ArizonaPublic Ivy
University of Colorado – BoulderPublic Ivy
University of DelawarePublic Ivy
University of FloridaPublic Ivy
University of GeorgiaPublic Ivy
University of IowaPublic Ivy
University of Maryland – College ParkPublic Ivy
University of MichiganPublic Ivy/New Ivy
University of Minnesota – Twin CitiesPublic Ivy
University of Richmond (1 school)Hidden Ivy
University of Rochester (1 school)Hidden Ivy/New Ivy
University of Texas at AustinPublic Ivy/Southern Ivy
University of VirginiaPublic Ivy/New Ivy/Southern Ivy
University of Wisconsin-MadisonPublic Ivy
Villanova UniversityHidden Ivy
Public/Hidden Ivies accepting CLEP

Highly Ranked Institutions That Accept CLEP Exams

It’s no secret that attending a high-ranking college or university comes with a number of perks.

Having access to top-notch facilities and amenities such as libraries and laboratories is one of them. Another is the wealth of networking opportunities available to the attendees.

But while the list can go on and on, it’s important to bear in mind that, in due course, it’s not where you go to college but what you do in college that will matter when the time comes when you are facing prospective hiring managers and employers.

No matter if the institution is highly-ranked or otherwise, what matters is how you make the most of it.

The following, nonetheless, is a table showing the top 30 colleges and universities included in the Best National University Rankings by US News as well as which ones accept CLEP examinations:

US News RankingUniversityAccepts CLEP?
#1Princeton UniversityNo
#2Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyNo
#3Harvard UniversityHarvard Extension School
#3Stanford UniversityNo
#3Yale UniversityNo
#6University of ChicagoNo
#7Johns Hopkins UniversityCarey Business School and School of Education
#7University of PennsylvaniaNo
#9California Institute of TechnologyNo
#10Duke UniversityNo
#10Northwestern UniversityYes
#12Dartmouth CollegeNo
#13Brown UniversityNo
#13Vanderbilt UniversityNo
#15Rice UniversityNo
#15Washington University in St. LouisNo
#17Cornell UniversityNo
#18Columbia UniversityTeachers College
#18University of Notre DameNo
#20University of California, BerkeleyNo
#21University of California, Los AngelesNo
#22Carnegie Mellon UniversityNo
#22Emory UniversityNo
#22Georgetown UniversityNo
#25New York UniversityNo
#25University of Michigan – Ann ArborYes
#25University of Southern CaliforniaNo
#25University of VirginiaYes
#29University of FloridaYes
#29University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill School of Government
Top US Colleges and CLEP acceptance

Some campuses of certain colleges and universities may accept CLEP exams. Others, meanwhile, may not.

Case in point: the University of North Carolina.

The table above indicates that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill does not honor CLEP. However, many of the University of North Carolina system’s other campuses besides the said flagship school do.

Some of them include those that are in Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Pembroke and Wilmington.

Which Liberal Arts Colleges Accept CLEP Exams

High schoolers who are planning on attending liberal arts school with college credits under their belt rejoice!

Because many CLEP exam topics are lower-division courses found in most liberal arts curricula, it’s possible for them to be able to skip introductory courses and head straight to advanced ones through CLEP.

Of course, it’s not enough that they carefully select which CLEP examinations to sit for — it’s also of utmost importance for them to check which liberal arts colleges in the land actually accept CLEP tests.

It’s a good thing that there are many of them around, increasing your chances of earning credits at your top-choice institution.

Here are just 30 of the liberal arts colleges in the country ranked by US News that accept CLEP tests:

US News RankingCollegeSchool-wide CLEP Acceptance?
#18University of RichmondSchool of Professional & Continuing Studies
#33Scripps CollegeYes
#37Bucknell UniversityYes
#39Denison UniversityYes
#40Franklin & Marshall CollegeYes
#48Hillsdale CollegeYes
#51Spelman CollegeYes
#55Wabash CollegeYes
#70Wofford CollegeYes
#72Hobart and William Smith CollegesYes
#76Allegheny CollegeYes
#76Muhlenberg CollegeYes
#76New College of FloridaYes
#89St. Mary’s College of MarylandYes
#89Ursinus CollegeYes
#94College of St. BenedictYes
#100Saint Mary’s CollegeYes
#102Hope CollegeYes
#107Luther CollegeYes
#107Randolph-Macon CollegeYes
#111Lycoming CollegeYes
#111Saint Anselm CollegeYes
#111St. Norbert CollegeYes
#111Susquehanna UniversityYes
#119Saint Michael’s CollegeYes
#120Linfield UniversityYes
#120Roanoke CollegeYes
#120Saint Vincent CollegeYes
#124Morehouse CollegeYes
#124Salem CollegeYes
Liberal Art colleges and CLEP

Do Community Colleges Accept CLEP Exams?

The vast majority of community colleges in the US accept CLEP exams. Many of them are highly ranked, too. It is said that earning CLEP exam credits may allow students enrolled in associate degree programs to save a total of 1.5 months to 4.5 months — some enter 2-year colleges with 1 year of college-level credits.

It’s not uncommon for some low-income students to work on an associate degree program at a community college before transferring to a 4-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree to save both time and money.

Well, taking CLEP exams may let them save more of their resources.

Fortunately for CLEP test-takers, they can earn credits that can be accepted not only at 4-year institutions but also 2-year ones such as community colleges.

And, more importantly, there are a lot of community colleges in the US that accept CLEP examinations, numerous of which are some of the best of the bunch, too.

Let’s take a look at the top 30 highly ranked community colleges by Niche that gives CLEP credits:

Niche RankingCommunity College
#1Foothill College
#4Moraine Park Technical College
#7Southeast Technical College
#9Craven Community College
#13Lakeshore Technical College
#14Lake Area Technical Institute
#16New Mexico Military Institute
#17Renton Technical College
#18Western Technical College
#19North Florida Community College
#22Allan Hancock College
#23Waukesha County Technical College
#24Wallace Community College – Dothan
#25Brazosport College
#27Mt. San Antonio College
#28Alexandria Technical & Community College
#29College of San Mateo
#31Roxbury Community College
#32Nicolet Area Technical College
#33Western Iowa Tech Community College
#34University of South Carolina – Lancaster
#35Cuesta College
#36Holmes Community College
#39Southwest Mississippi Community College
#43North Dakota State College of Science
#44Minnesota State Community and Technical College
#46MiraCosta College
#48Texas State Technical College
#49Elgin Community College
#50Wayne Community College
CLEP Exams
CLEP Exams

30 Public Colleges and Universities Accepting CLEP Exams

Compared to private schools, public institutions are generally significantly cheaper.

But you can still lower the cost of a bachelor’s degree at government-funded schools, which totals an average of $102,828 at in-state schools, by taking CLEP exams for topics you already know and earning college credits for them, too.

It’s a good thing that most of the colleges and universities that honor CLEP are public institutions — many of them are flagship and highly-ranked schools, which means that you can earn an undergraduate degree from a reputable alma mater for less.

By taking advantage of CLEP as well as taking AP exams and filling out the FAFSA, the savings can add up!

The following are the top 30 high-ranking public colleges and universities by Niche that accept CLEP exams:

#2University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
#4University of Virginia
#6University of Florida
#8University of Texas at Austin
#10University of Georgia
#11University of Wisconsin
#13Florida State University
#19Texas A&M University
#21Purdue University
#22Ohio State University
#23North Carolina State University
#26University of Pittsburgh
#27University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
#29University of South Florida
#30University of Maryland – College Park
#31Michigan State University
#34Oklahoma State University
#36Michigan Technological University
#37University of Massachusetts – Amherst
#38University of Central Florida
#39University of Iowa
#40University of Utah
#41University of Alabama – Birmingham
#42Arizona State University
#44Florida International University
#45University of Cincinnati
#46Iowa State University
#47University of Mississippi
#49University of South Carolina
#50University of Oklahoma
Public flagships accepting CLEP exams

Your target high-ranking public institution not included in the list above?

It’s a good idea to head to the CLEP College Credit Policy Search page by the College Board. That’s because some top-notch public schools with various campuses may accept CLEP tests at some of their campuses, while not at others.

For instance, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is ranked #7 in Top Public Universities in America by Niche and #5 in Top Public Schools by US News, does not grant CLEP credits alright.

However, the University of North Carolina Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Pembroke and Wilmington campuses all do.

Which Medical Schools Accept CLEP Credits

Looking for a fast track toward a healthcare-related degree by earning credits in some undergraduate courses?

Then you will be more than happy to know that some medical or medical arts institutions in the land accept CLEP credits for introductory-level college courses, thus shortening the time they need to stay in school.

It’s no secret that seeking a career in the healthcare field usually requires one to spend time in college.

But it’s not just any time that you will need to devote to your studies — it’s a lot of time that you will have to dedicate.

And that is exactly why it’s not uncommon for students at medical or medical arts schools to have to stay in school anywhere from 4 to 8 years.

Unfortunately, plenty of time is not the only necessary investment — you will have to spend a lot of money, too!

As a matter of fact, the average cost of medical school education tuition per year, as of this writing, amounts to $57,574!

With that kind of price tag, you will need all the help you can get to cut the costs.

The good news is that some medical schools and medical arts schools accept CLEP exams, which means that you can lower medical education-related costs by shelling out $93, which is the current CLEP test fee cost.

By earning CLE credits for introductory college courses, you can breeze through your undergraduate studies and head to medical school in no time.

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that different medical schools that grant CLEP credits have different policies regarding the matter. As always, do your homework prior to registering for CLEP tests.

Below, you will come across medical and medical arts schools that accept CLEP exams:

Medical SchoolLocation
Arnot Ogden Medical Center School of NursingElmira, New York
Kettering College of Medical ArtsDayton, Ohio
Medical University of South CarolinaCharleston, South Carolina
SUNY Upstate Medical UniversitySyracuse, New York
Ultimate Medical AcademyClearwater, Florida
Medical Schools Accepting CLEP Credits

Before You Go…

By now, you understand how much money you can save by taking CLEP tests, and you probably wondering the same thing as I did when I learned about the program – can you get an entire undergraduate degree without even going to college?

Here’s an informative post explaining whether or not you can get a bachelor’s degree only by taking CLEP exams.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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